Case Study: Working with gifted and talented children at an Iron Age hill fort in north Somerset

Article

By Julia Dauban with John Crossland, published 19th July 2009

Introduction: The Challenge

The phone call was over - manna from heaven. The opportunity to work with a ‘real' archaeologist on a ‘real' Iron Age site seemed far too good to be true. The cluster of eight South Bristol schools working together to promote teaching of Pupils of Outstanding Potential jumped at the chance that John Crossland had offered. The rebirth of Indiana Jones has awakened in the current generation the belief that archaeology is ‘cool'. The fact that the Iron Age is not part of the national curriculum was a second perfectly good reason to get involved.

Here was my challenge - take a group of about thirty children to an Iron Age hill top fort and let them work out what it is all about, with the guidance and support of their supporting experts. Support would be minimal: the guidance needed to support children to enable them to reach conclusions based upon their gathering, processing and analysis of findings. We decided not to tell them [or their teachers initially] what they were looking at - we gave them the problem to solve, and hoped that by the end of the day they would all have an insight into what life was like in the Iron Age. We used the hill fort at Cadbury Camp near Tickennham in North Somerset, a lovely spot overlooking the Bristol Channel, the Mendip Hills and the Somerset Levels...

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